It is rare to come across a good comedy based on teenagers who are just navigating through puberty, hormonal changes, and body changes. “Derry Girls,” a British sitcom written by Lisa McGee and directed by Michael Lennox, is set during the conflict between Ireland and Britain and how the kids grow up in a conflict-like situation in the 1990s. Based on the life of the writer Lisa McGee’s experience studying in a conservative Catholic school, the show talks more about the experiences of the kids and their lives as they navigate through a highly conservative Catholic school, for Ireland is a Catholic nation.
Erin Quinn, Orla McCool, Mary Quinn, Sarah McCool, Michelle Mallon, Clare Devlin, and James Maguire (Michelle’s cousin) are students at Our Lady Immaculate College in the mid-1990s who navigate through the strict rules of the school and try to have some fun without getting caught. The headmistress, Sister George Michael, has reached a point in her life where she knows the kids aren’t harmful and their indulgence for some time can be ignored. While the girls are having a good time in each other’s company, doing their own thing without getting into much trouble, along comes Michelle’s British cousin, James Maguire. To Michelle and James’s dismay, they must hang out with each other, and as an extension, he must spend time with her gang of friends. The humor in “Derry Girls” hits your heart because, at some point, we as teenagers have acted the way this bunch has acted. The teenage years are a time when kids make mistakes, hopefully learn from them, move on, and eventually laugh about them once they are adults.
The gang goes from facing detention at school to facing punishment from their parents to burning down their houses. It goes to a point where Erin starts wondering if her deceased dog has come back to her, and a sleep-deprived Michelle wonders if the statue of the Virgin Mary is crying, hoping that witnessing a miracle would help them skip writing the exam altogether. But when do things go the right way for young teenagers? Rarely. “Derry Girls” does not shy away from discussing sex, for the children at that age surely go through hormonal changes. At one point, James insists on losing his virginity to a Ukrainian refugee, whom the school is sheltering after the Chernobyl Disaster. The show also goes ahead and talks about each one’s sexuality, and at the end of season 1, Clare comes out as a lesbian to her friend Erin, who initially repulses at the thought of it but soon realizes she’s her friend and requires support more than ever right now.
Season 2 of “Derry Girls” begins with the students of the Catholic school meeting the boys from a Protestant school to bridge the gap between two different forms of Christian ideology. They don’t get along well with the boys and subsequently the trip turns out to be an utter failure. This show does a great job of showcasing teachers as a good influence on kids. The group wants to head to “Take That” concert, but they are forbidden by their family from doing so. They head out nevertheless, only to find their headmistress on the same bus as theirs, and soon trouble ensues. They reach the venue of the concert, only to be discovered by their parents, who are watching this concert on the telly.
The second season of “Derry Girls” also has girls understanding love and how, at this age, it can break their hearts. At the prom, Erin invites John Paul, but he doesn’t show up to pick her up; instead, James comes by to accompany her to the prom. Season 2 of “Derry Girls” ends with the Irish Civil War reaching a ceasefire. As the second season comes to an end, James decides to head back to London with his mother, but eventually changes his mind and stays back with a group of friends who have loved him despite everything he has been through.
Each episode of “Derry Girls” explores friendships, parent-child relationships, and the relationship the children have with their teachers. Writer Lisa McGee, throughout two seasons, beautifully crafts the stories around these kids, the problems they face, and how they navigate through them. The conflict of the IRA is only in the background, but Lisa highlights their limited time in school. The screenplay is written in such a manner that every episode is about different situations, and not one episode is a continuation of the last episode. The parents are quirky, and so are the grandparents. They love being funny and conservative at the same time. The screenplay captures the essence of the teenage years, which includes bunking off school, getting into trouble, living on the edge, falling in love, falling out of love, dealing with parents, and the show brushes upon changes in the political climate in the country.
What To Expect From Derry Girls Season 3?
“Derry Girls” Season 3 will be on Netflix from October 7th, 2022 and will take the narrative of the six girls and one boy forward. The youngsters will probably head to college soon. The showrunners might drop in further historical references and how it affects the group living in Northern Ireland. Kids will also try to understand their relationship with one another with puberty at its peak and understanding sexuality. The show will definitely explore their relationship with their parents and classmates. All of this and more will be explored more in-depth in the upcoming season 3 of “Derry Girls.”
“Derry Girls” seasons 1 and 2 are streaming on Netflix with subtitles.